The Aberdeen Area Community Foundation along with its partner the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has provided a grant of more than $18,000 to Aberdeen’s Bethlehem Lutheran Church to support its Wednesday Night Supper meal distribution program. On Wednesdays for more than 20 years, the congregation has prepared and provided a warm homemade meal to hundreds of families in need in the community. The COVID pandemic significantly increased the need for meals at the same time that it reduced funds available to cover the costs of the program. Throughout the pandemic, the church has been providing 400-500 meals every Wednesday–often seeing cars lined up for blocks for curbside pickup of meals at the church. The grant helps cover the program’s funding shortfall. The funds came from the Knight COVID-19 Aberdeen Sub-fund within the AACF.
In March 2020, Knight Foundation committed $225,000 in partnership with the Aberdeen Area Community Foundation and the South Dakota Community Foundation to provide short-term and long-term relief in response to the pandemic through the AACF Knight COVID Sub-fund. These funds were a portion of the over $10 million Knight Foundation committed to its 26 Knight communities around the country. The funds are meant to address immediate needs within the community while also focusing on priority areas Knight Foundation has identified in Aberdeen. Through September 2020, the fund has made more than $120,000 in grants in the Aberdeen area to address the impact of the pandemic.